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NUI Galway & Abbey Theatre Digital Archive

A digital journey through Irish theatre history

In 2012 the Abbey Theatre and NUI Galway formed a partnership to digitise the Abbey Theatre Archive. This digitisation project will unlock a new era of theatre scholarship and will shed new light on the history of Irish theatre and Irish life.

The Abbey Theatre Archive, comprising of over one million items, is one of the world’s most significant theatre collections. It has a wealth of extraordinary and unique material providing a fascinating insight into Irish theatre, history, culture and society. The archival material ranges from posters, programmes, photographs and minute books to lighting plans, set and costume designs, sound cues, prompt scripts and audio files. Portions of the Abbey Theatre Archive were damaged in the fire of 1951, leaving many archival artefacts in a fragile condition. Digitisation will facilitate access to these hitherto unavailable items.

The project, launched by President Michael D. Higgins in October 2012, is due for completion in 2016. The digitisation process, utilising a multidisciplinary team, is currently taking place on the NUI Galway campus. Access to the digitised material has been available at NUI Galway since January 2014.

This project allows us to make the Abbey Theatre Archive more accessible for scholarly research at NUI Galway, and we hope it will lead to new discoveries and insights into Irish drama for the benefit of the future generations of scholars and theatre-makers.

Information on how to access the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive at NUI Galway is available here

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